CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- It all started, as so many decorating projects seem to do these days, with a visit to Pinterest, an online version of scrapbooking in which users "pin" photos of cool stuff to share with other viewers or just track for their own reference.
A photo of three good-sized candleholders topped with pumpkins instead of candles caught my eye. So cute, so simple. I thought about how else I could pair the bag full of little pumpkins in varying colors and textures that I've collected through the years with decorative items I already have.
It's a version of the "shop your own house" theory espoused by decorators to clients with pintsize budgets who advise them to look around their own houses before they go out and spend a wad on new accessories.
I dug the pumpkins out of a closet that's jammed with holiday items and also purchased a $5 mesh bag filled with miniature real pumpkins, actually gourds. Another $5 would have purchased some gourds in funky colors and shapes, but this effort was all about pumpkins. That was the only purchase I made to add touches of autumnal color to four rooms.
Candleholders, a two-tiered wrought-iron serving piece, several platters, a hurricane glass, crystal ice bucket and miniature glasshouse were all pressed into service. The bag of pumpkins also held a few orange candles and leaf-shaped tea light holders.
A walk through the woods and yard provided additional -- and free -- materials. Sprays of berries on a nandina bush had reached an orangish stage in their seasonal transition from green to red. A few intact hickory nuts that escaped the attention of voracious squirrels stood out among the empty shells littering the patio. The orange shells on the red berries of meandering bittersweet vine found along a roadside hadn't opened, but still added interest.
Other items spotted but not used were acorns, pinecones, leaves in red, orange and gold, gnarly bare branches, crabapple branches with yellow/blush fruit and showy red-berried hawthorn branches.